Jun 24, 2007

Fish is Fish

C8 Speech, Add Impact to Your Speech, by Alan Lin, 2006/11/2
Madam/ Mr. Toastmaster, ladies and gentlemen!

This is a magic moment. Please pay attention to the balloon.

How could a balloon keep its expansion with an open end?

You cannot believe it because it conflicts with your common sense. In other words, you understand new knowledge based on what you have known.

A few months ago, for writing the proposal of my dissertation I read a storybook, titled "Fish is fish". Why did I read a children's storybook for my dissertation? That's a long story.

Now, let's begin the story about … about a fish.

Once upon a time, there was a pond at the edge of the woods. And there a minnow and a tadpole swam among the weeds. They were good friends.

One morning the tadpole yelled, "Look, look, I've grown two legs. I'm a frog!"

The minnow said, "Nonsense. How could you be a frog? If only last night you were a little fish, just like me!" They argued and argued until the tadpole said, "Frogs are frogs, and fish is fish, and that's that!"

Finally the tadpole had grown into a frog! He decided to go out onto the land. He said good-bye to his friend and promised to return and report on what he had seen to him.

Then one day, a happy splash shocked the weeds.The frog returned to the pond to meet his lonely friend. The fish excitedly asked, "Where have you been?"

"I've been around the world, hopping here and there. And I've seen unusual things."

"Like what?"

"Birds. A bird has wings, and two legs, and feather with many, many colors."

The fish saw the birds fly through his mind like large feathered fish.

"What else?"

"And people. They wear clothes and hats, and walk with two legs."

The fish saw in mind, a man and a child look like a huge and a big fish walking upright and dressed in clothing.

"What else?"


A black-and-white spotted fish with horns and udders chewed weeds and mooed on the fish's mind.

What was wrong? Between the frog's teaching and the fish's learning, something went wrong.

Isn't the frog a good teacher? Or the fish isn't a good student!

Maybe the frog was an earnest teacher. But an earnest teacher doesn't need to promise to be a good teacher. The frog forgot that fish is fish. He did his best to teach the fish based on the frog's own experiences, not on the fish's current knowledge. Remember, we use what we have already known to shape our new understandings, just as the fish did. That's an important viewpoint on learning. Do you agree?

Teachers have to begin their teaching from what students have already known. That's the conclusion I made from the storybook "Fish is fish". And that's why I read it for my dissertation.

Am I a good teacher, or just an earnest teacher like the frog?

Madam/ Mr. Toastmaster.

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